Revolutionary railroad: atomic train being developed in Russia

Revolutionary railroad: atomic train being developed in Russia

Moscow : Russia | Jun 06, 2011 at 1:59 AM PDT
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Russian Railways (RZhD) and the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) intend to create a nuclear-powered train, reports Interfax.

According to RZhD vice-president Valentin Gapanovich, the train, consisting of 11 carriages, will house scientific exhibits.

The estimated cost of construction is as yet unknown, as well as the safety measures for such transport.

In the middle of the 20th Century the transport industry almost fell in love with the idea of nuclear-powered vehicles.

In 1958, the Russian newspaper Gudok (The Horn) wrote that “even though a nuclear-powered locomotive is likely to weigh more than a steam or diesel one of the same power capacity, it can be sent to remote areas such as the Arctic, where it can work throughout the winter season without additional supplies.”

The newspaper also wrote that the nuclear-powered locomotive can be easily turned into a mobile power plant, supplying energy to saunas, laundries, and greenhouses.

The idea of using nuclear power in everyday life seemed very tempting for the US engineers too. Ford Motor Company developed the Ford Nucleon – a nuclear-powered concept car – in 1958.

The vehicle did not include an internal-combustion engine; it was powered by a small nuclear reactor in the rear of the car. It was a steam engine powered by uranium fission, similar to how nuclear submarines work. However, Ford Nucleon never went into production.

US media also speculated on the idea of a nuclear-powered vacuum cleaner. That project also never saw the light of day.

khalidhussain is based in Jhang, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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